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From Empire to Republic: Western Art Music, Nationalism, and the Merging Mediation of Saygun’s Op.26 Yunus Emre Oratorio Open Access


Other title
Western Art Music
Music and Nationalism
Ahmet Adnan Saygun
Yunus Emre Oratorio
Turkish Republic
Turkish National Music
Turkish Five
Ottoman Empire
Yunus Emre
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Karadagli, Ozgecan
Supervisor and department
Frishkopf, Michael (Music)
Examining committee member and department
Sonia Seeman (external- music)
Gier, Christina (Music)
Julia Byl (Music)
Frishkopf, Michael (Music)
Despres, Jacques (Music)
Department of Music

Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-11:Fall 2017
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This dissertation focuses on Western art music during the second half of the 19th century Ottoman Empire and the first half of 20th century in Republic of Turkey in the construction of a national identity, and how it had been used as a part of cultural politics. One of the aims is to contest some misinterpretations on the history and roles of Western art music. Through the Tanzimat (reform) period of the Ottoman Empire, Western art music genres became part of their Westernization policy. However, music was not a part of state ideology. On the other hand, as a big part of culture revolutions, music played an immense role of forging the new national identity of Turkish Republic. This music, under the vision of the founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, was formed through the synthesis of newly constructed Turkish folk music and Western art music techniques. Ahmet Adnan Saygun, as one the first generation of composers of the new state, dedicated himself to creating the new nationalist music of Turkey. This dissertation also argues that Saygun brought together Turkish folk music, Turkish art music and Western art music to compose nationalist music. In doing so, Saygun mediated the aesthetic and cultural traditions of the past and the present as well as broke the artificial art and folk music binary. Lastly this dissertation offers an analysis of the first section of Op.26 Yunus Emre Oratorio, one of Saygun’s most well-known pieces based on the eponymous Anatolian mystic Yunus Emre, to show that through combining musical materials from different periods of Turkish history Saygun created his musical mediation.
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